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By StackyMcRacky (Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 10:04:05 AM EST) (all tags)
back from my trip to Philly

I'll just come right out and say it:  my sister and brother-in-law are hobos.  This isn't good or bad (ok, it's kind of gross sometimes), it's just how they are.  They will never live up to my mother's standards, and she just needs to realize that.

Having said all that, I had a pretty good trip.  It's fun to be the aunt when one has actual experience with babies/kids.  My new niece is pretty damn cute and is a totally laid back, sweet little girl (aren't they all sweet at that age?).  I used Jedi mind tricks on my nephew, and he didn't mind me being there like he did with my parents (he kept telling my mother to go home, etc).

It was cold while I was there, and FUCKING COLD AS FUCK one particular day and night.  The water in the pipes of the toilet in the "wacky shack" froze, it was so cold.  My dumb Land's End coat that clock makes so much fun of did a great job of keeping me warm.

My sister is having some financial problems, and I was able to analyze what they were doing and what they need to do.  Quite frankly, they need to totally change everything about their finances, but that just isn't going to happen.  I decided to focus on the more immediate problem of paying down their debt.  I finally convinced my sister she needs an emergency fund.  FINALLY!  She's desperate enough to actually follow through as well.  She was considering having her husband work a part-time job, but I think that would be a very bad idea in their case.  He doesn't handle stress well, and being the SAHDad just wears him out every day.  Working on top of that would make things worse.  They still have plenty they can cut back on, so they're not totally desperate.  We'll see how it works out for them.

My dearest clock is the best!  He painted the kitchen while I was gone!!!!!!  The color needs to be a shade or two darker (no big deal, he only did one coat), but it looks awesome.  Now I have to find time to make new curtains and put together the accessories.

Our project list seems to be getting longer and longer, and I feel like we have less time.  We living on borrowed time wrt the timing belts in our vehicles.  We have to build the garden NOW if we're going to get stuff in the ground in time (spring planting starts in another week or so!).

Back in my previous life, my then MIL gave me a serger/overlock machine for xmas one year.  I had no idea what it was, or what I would do with it.  Years passed, and I asked my sister if she wanted it (she was a fashion design major and all).  I checked it as luggage on a trip to Philly, and it sat in her basement until this past weekend.  Since I'm sewing now, it only made sense that I take my serger back!  I picked up a book to teach me how to use it.  I think I'll actually start messing with it in a few weeks, after I finish clock's dude shirt.  It's a pretty nice entry-level serger.  I hope to get a lot of use out of it (finally!).

Oh hey, speaking of the dude shirts, I finished The Dude's dude shirt before my trip.  Well, mostly finished - I have buttons and button holes left.  It looks great!  I'm really proud of myself!  Guyabera shirts are a bit more tedious to put together than I originally thought.  My dudes will look awesome with their matching shirts!

I'm going to stop here for now.  I have a billion things to get done, and surfing is not a good use of my oh-so-precious nap time freedom.

< January 20, 2009 | Milestones >
Philadelphia Chickens | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden)
That reminds me by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 10:10:49 AM EST
I hemmed two pair of pinstripe pants last night, one for Mrs. Ha, one for me. They were both Old Navy, I recall buying mine at something like 75% off.

We modeled them together, and I told the girls I was getting them some too, so the whole family can match. Twelve year old shrieked in disgust.

holy cow.. by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 11:09:57 AM EST
one that your growing season starts in a week. Geeze. I need (zone 7) to start my seeds for tomatoes/peppers/eggplant in the next few weeks.

Two that you gave up a serger, but got it back. Nice. The Mrs would like one, but wouldn't use it enough to justify the cost (her words..).

...and hog heaven by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 02:15:08 PM EST
last night i looked up the serger on amazon - wow, the ex-MIL spent quite a bit of money on it!!  it's not super high-end, but it's not a $100 crappy one, either.

i typically plant tomatoes outside the last weekend of January/first weekend of February.  since it's actually been cold (for Houston) this year, I might wait until mid-Feb.  I might wait mostly out of lack of time.

we're right on the border of zones 8 & 9.  i've read that all zones have actually gone up a number in the last 10 years, so we're pretty much a solid 9.

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Don't worry, we don't like the weather either by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 02:11:26 PM EST
This is pretty much the coldest it's been since I've been here. I broke out the long underwear, even.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB
i should have worn mine by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 02:17:29 PM EST
one afternoon my sister got her hair cut, and i wandered around outside in the Drexel U. area.  holy crap, my legs were cold!  i was wearing jeans, and should have put the long underwear on.

we didn't leave the house, for the most part (who wants to take a 3 week old baby out in that kind of cold?), so i suffered little.

[ Parent ]
-7 here in the mountains. by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 04:46:45 PM EST
Damn it's nice to have cold winters again.

You probably know this by Herring (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 01:46:30 AM EST
But timing belts are important.

You've reminded me: when I get some time I need to get garden things going. Dig over the raised beds, build the high-rise potato things I am planning and get the chilli seeds in the propagator.

When this project is over, I think I'll take a couple of days off.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

i know i know by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 05:08:56 AM EST
it will cost $1k to have the shop take care of the timing belt (that's $1K/vehicle), but we can do both cars for $700 if we do it ourselves. 

eh, fuck it, i will order the parts this week.  we can't put this off any longer.

[ Parent ]
Good idea, if the dude gets much bigger by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 05:13:45 AM EST
he won't be able to squeeze between the engine and the frame.

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Steep by Herring (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 07:04:36 AM EST
Aren't they VW TDIs? I had mine done on my Audi (same engine) for ~£400 a couple of years back.

Still cheaper than recovery truck + new engine.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
this engine by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 09:58:49 AM EST
is far more popular where you live, which i'm guessing means you can get cheaper labor.  in Houston your choices are the dealer ($$$) and maybe one or two shops that won't completely f it up.  said shops charge as much as the dealer.

[ Parent ]
That was the Audi dealer price by Herring (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 10:07:46 AM EST
Sounds like you guys get screwed on parts and labour for unamerican cars. But you save on fuel ...

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
I think by barooo (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 09:32:21 AM EST
my KC shop charged about $750.

how much over the recommended interval are you?  If it breaks, you're looking at a tow and at least $3000 in repairs, if not more.  It destroys the pistons, the valves, possibly damages the cylinders or head, possibly damages the crankshaft or camshaft, plus all the labor involved in that kind of job. 

man, i need a beefy taco now.
[ Parent ]
just a little over by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 11:47:21 AM EST
couple thousand in my case, maybe 7k in clock's case.

yeah, i know what level of suck we're dealing with if it breaks.  i'll get that taken care of today or tomorrow.

[ Parent ]
wait, what? by 256 (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 05:14:50 AM EST
I thought that on this site there was a mandatory "anybody in $city want to meet up for a beer?" post before traveling anywhere!

Your husi membership is hereby revoked.

Also, e and I have two weather widgets on our computer: one that shows the weather in Philadelphia and another that shows the weather in Toronto. Partly because it's nice to be reminded of home, but mostly because it makes us thankful for small blessings when it's only 10 below freezing in Philadelphia.

I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
i posted something in a previous diary by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 10:00:55 AM EST
that i was going, but wouldn't have time to do a meet-up.

1 car + toddler + new baby + sister with c-section + only there for 3 days = not any free time.

otherwise i would have posted the call for drinkies

[ Parent ]
okay by 256 (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 10:03:23 AM EST
you're forgiven.

sorry to hear it ended up being such a stress-ball.

I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
[ Parent ]
Looking at tdiclub's list by Roaming Philosopher (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 10:18:19 AM EST
Houston has at least one recommended mechanic in the area. When I had my Jetta's timing belt replaced last year, it cost me, I think ~$6-700 at an independent shop here in PA. The Tdiclub people generally recommend that you stay away from the dealer for any work, I don't know how much accuracy I necessarily place on that. I think that like many things some good dealers and some bad ones exist.

Houston is big by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 11:08:50 AM EST
the place they recommend is almost an hour away from where I live.

nah, we'll just do it ourselves.  the Cinci TDI club has an awesome how-to video you can get for a $25 donation.  my ex-BIL did my last timing belt change - he said it was easy, just takes a while.

[ Parent ]
Ah, fair enough. by Roaming Philosopher (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 11:28:18 AM EST
Have fun with the change, I watched the mechanic do all the work it didn't seem that difficult, just time consuming.

[ Parent ]
and hard on the knuckles... by clock (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 05:27:59 PM EST
...i'm not looking forward to it but i've spent too much of my life in the midwest to pay to have something done that i can (and therefore should) do myself.  sigh.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Philadelphia Chickens | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden)